ACT News

Alleged drug trafficker and suspected debt collector loses bail, despite family's plea

A Canberra man allegedly found with knives and a trafficable quantity of ice has lost a bid for bail, despite his family pleading with a court to send him home so they could try to turn him around.

Sione Tuifua, 25, was allegedly found with 18.7 grams of ice in a saddle bag on Wednesday. Police were looking for him because he had allegedly breached bail by missing two appointments with ACT Corrective Services relating to previous drug charges.

Twenty-five-year-old man has been denied bail on a drug possession offence.
Twenty-five-year-old man has been denied bail on a drug possession offence. 

Tuifua was found in the passenger seat of a car in Evatt. His bag was searched, and police say they found 10 empty clip seal bags, another four containing ice, and two knives.

Police say they suspect Tuifua has been involved in violence, is linked with firearms, and is acting as a collector of drug debts, although they have laid no formal charges and did not attend court, meaning their claims could not be tested.

Instead, police put their allegations in a bail opposition form handed up to the court, which contained errors and vague references to pending charges and ongoing investigations .

Tuifua's lawyer Soraya Saikal said it would be "dangerous" for the court to rely on such claims to refuse her client bail.

Ms Saikal urged the court not to treat Tuifua as a "no hoper" by sending him to jail. She urged for conditions that would effectively see Tuifua placed under house arrest at his family home.

There, she said, he would be subject to the strict rules of his mother and father, and would try to access residential drug rehabilitation.

"Family is the thread he is holding on to," Ms Saikal said.

Tuifua's mother gave evidence that the family home would be the best place for him, and that she had never seen her son use drugs or keep firearms there.

She said she was "very confident" that their strict household could ensure Tuifua didn't breach his bail.

"Because he knows if he doesn't listen, I will call the police myself," she said.

Prosecutors argued that Tuifua was a risk of reoffending.

It was argued that if the court was unable to control his behaviour through previous orders and conditions, his family would struggle to do the same.

Magistrate Robert Cook agreed it was likely that Tuifua would reoffend, and remanded him in custody.

The defendant was already on a curfew when he allegedly committed the most recent offence, and Mr Cook said little change was being proposed to the conditions that had existed previously.